Home » Style

Jay-Z Discusses His Challenges & Goals With Rocawear

Submitted by on November 30, 2009 – 10:03 am11 Comments



In a recent interview with Women’s Wear Daily, Jay-Z dished on everything from dodging bullets as a drug dealing kid to the tremendous unanticipated success of his now 10 year old Rocawear brand.

Annual sales are quickly approaching $1 billion across all the hip hop mogul’s businesses. His empire includes RocNation, Roc-A-Fella Records, part ownership in the New Jersey Nets, 40/40 nightclubs, The Spotted Pig restaurant in Manhattan, and of course Rocawear – which makes up for about $700 million of those sales.

In 2005, Jay bought out co-founder Damon Dash’s 25 percent stake in the company for $30 million.

“Rocawear has always been part of the whole overall culture. It’s connected to everything that I do,” Jay told WWD. “So coming in full time was important to me. It’s something I really believe in and something I want to protect.”

“Dame did a great job when he was here,” he said. “I just feel that I have a different way of running things, which I think is working out well. I let people make mistakes, and push them to be creative. I let a design team design. When they feel good about something they have created, it makes them want to do more. It makes them want to do their best. People are happy here. I’m not a controlling manager and I have a great team that makes me confident that things can run well when I’m on the road, and I’m proud of that.”

Jay was first inspired to start a fashion brand when he was performing onstage back in 1997 and noticed kids rocking Iceberg jeans. He then organized a meeting with the brand along with Dash, in the interest of starting their own line with them.

He admits that he and his partner were in over their heads at the time and it didn’t work out, so the pair proceeded to purchase sewing machines and set them up in the Roc-A-Fella offices with the goal of creating Rocawear logo tees.

“We didn’t know how to sew, and we didn’t really know people who knew how to sew, so we quickly realized that this just wasn’t going to work,” he laughed.

It wasn’t until they approached Def Jam and Phat Fashions founder Russell Simmons that the ball really got rolling. He set them up with apparel manufacturers Alex Bize and Norton Cher, who still remain silent partners in the brand today.

Jay remains humble, refusing to call Rocawear a “celebrity brand”.

“If I focused on that, no one would buy the clothes,” he said. “People rely so much less these days on the logo. They want quality product, which is what I want Rocawear to be known for — we make a damn good pair of jeans…That’s why people buy them.”

In 2007, Jay-Z partnered up with the Iconix Brand Group, which acquired the Rocawear brand for $204 million in cash.

The CEO, Neil Cole, became Jay’s partner and together their goal is to become a $1 billion company. Jay also revealed that he is searching for other brands to run under the Rocawear umbrella.

As with many brands in this economy, he admits his biggest challenge is competing against the Forever 21′s of the world when it comes to the women’s market, and he’s still figuring out what to do to overcome this.

Throughout the interview it is evident that Jay-Z has taken a genuine interest in the apparel business and his brand, learning and facing many obstacles in the market with an upbeat attitude.

What does he consider his biggest mistake?

“We really should have done some Rihanna Rocawear umbrellas when that song became a hit. We could have made a load of money on those. I’m still kicking myself.”

See more from Rocawear on DrJays.com, and check out Boss Lady‘s special Rocawear 10th anniversary video where she discusses the brand’s history, what it means to her and more:

Source: WWD

Related Posts with Thumbnails


  • X says:

    Rocawear Jeans #1. Sean John not far behind

  • Donna says:

    One I’m going 2 be just like u Jay. That’s why I look up u so much because u remain humble and and the let small stuff sweat u.

  • dsuave allday says:

    Jay is my favorite when it comes to the rap game, but Rocawear fell off in my opinion. they sell that mess in footaction. It doesn’t stand out like it used to, pre-retirement.

  • Acai girl says:

    Sorry, but can you elaborate further.

  • Form Detail,tiny completely note investigate beautiful that income obviously change test hence beautiful huge quickly expenditure army settle achievement may tell create quite alone recognize no-one little form lack present male satisfy plastic size too bridge village middle warm unemployment risk dream later step hang boy leading lead hotel settle over below date critical crowd stone perhaps criminal reference arrangement morning actually anybody clothes serious sequence stay watch lunch deny event product competition apparently understanding wrong employment lose literature she order prison influence little shut previously

  • Good Day
    Im just getting started with my new blog. Would you want to exchange links on our blog-rolls?
    Whats yer opinion on office?

  • Hello You
    i am pleased to communicate with you and welcome and i want to clarify dha entire ASAP Moses hilarious
    i discovered your homepage by coincidence.
    Cu Soon

  • candlemas says:

    You would think that they world have OKd it at the beginning instead of allowing it to go so long without saying a thing and then bringing it back up when it was too late. i dont understand it at all.
    Very interesting posts and well written.

  • Hello You
    You would think that they world have OKd it at the beginning instead of allowing it to go so long without saying a thing and then bringing it back up when it was too late. my homie dont understand it at all.
    My bro have a website aswell.

  • diego boneta says:

    Hows It Going
    A friend of mine just emailed me one of your articles from a while back. yours truly read that one a few more.

  • Excellent goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too great. I really like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still care for to keep it wise. I can’t wait to read much more from you. This is actually a great web site.

Leave a comment!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS. Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

We want to keep in touch with you. If you give us your email address, you may receive marketing emails from the DJ Networks family. We hope that's cool.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.